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Sunday August 25 2013
New Hellas, same Milan

Verona surprised Milan on the field and off, but everything about Massimiliano Allegri’s side was utterly predictable, argues Susy Campanale.

Has Milan’s season begun? Well, let’s look down the list. Inability to defend from set pieces? Check. Christian Abbiati batting shots away with all the power of a bored kitten? Check. Conceding headers? Double Check. Terrible start under Massimiliano Allegri? Triple Check, as they’ve amassed one point from the last three campaign openers. Fans left to mutter ‘when are they going to buy a new defender, because Cristian Zapata cannot possibly be first choice?’ Check.

It’s the same old story and now becoming painfully predictable. The problems are there for all to see and still the club scrambles around for a creative midfielder or forward while the back four languishes in a state of disrepair. Massimo Ambrosini – a midfielder, at that – used to be the only Rossoneri player who could actually defend in the air and now he’s gone too. Keisuke Honda can wait until January, what this team needs is a centre-back. Make that two, because none of the available men deserve a regular starting spot. Allegri will still get blamed and fired, of course. That never changes either.

At least Hellas Verona decided to shake things up a bit with some surprises in store. Luca Toni may be 36 and attempting to grow an Andrea Pirlo-style beard, but he’s still the biggest aerial threat in Serie A. Coach Andrea Mandorlini finally won a top flight match at his third club, while Jorginho and Martinho are names to watch this season.

The biggest surprise was in the stands, as the Stadio Bentegodi crowd shook off its appalling reputation for racism with a bit of ingenuity. Arguing their monkey noises are not inherently racist, but aimed at irritating the opponent (the less said about that theory, the better) the Hellas ultras tried to discover what would most wind up Mario Balotelli. It turns out that ironic applause is more disconcerting than straight-out abuse for someone of such an impressive ego. Verona fans might’ve changed tack for the wrong reasons, but hopefully it’ll draw out the more inventive side of the Italian ultras movement. As the banner at the Bentegodi read: ‘Why Always Him?’

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Have your say...
The Milan players, play without heart and passion.
Too many players on the injured list before the season has even started! What has happened to Milan Lab?
Red and Black stripes on the shirt are not enough to win games. The players must put more in to the game if they are going to restore pride to this club.
I agree with all that Suzy wrote in this blog, unfortunately all of us Milanistas will continue to suffer while nothing changes!
on the 26th August, 2013 at 10:30pm
Milan have good strikers and good central midfielders, but they do not have good attacking midfielders-players with pace, trickery, & creativity. Hopefully Saponara will go some way to fixing this problem. Milan's problems at CB have been there for all to see for the past year. The lack of urgency and attention in this area from Galliani is alarming.
on the 26th August, 2013 at 9:48pm
Dino al

I hate to break it to you but when Milan usually start slow, in recent years, they fall out of title contention. Milan just lost any hope of the scudetto. Milano season is over.

Apparently your one of those naive fans that thinks your team has "stra of the future". Hate to break it to you but guess what happens at Milan if a player becomes a star? That's right, they are sold to PSG, or Madrid.

Your only hope is a foreign investor.

Just support juve, the grass is so much greener
on the 26th August, 2013 at 8:43pm
Have no fear guys. It was first game of the season. I think also, like many of you, that Milan should strengthen their defence, Sakho is my favourite, but even if they wouldn't, they will improve their game and be as good as last season. I think that nobody can win Juventus this year, but Napoli and Fiorentina can be won.
on the 26th August, 2013 at 6:37pm
The most important issue you raise here Susy is the fact that Milan's defending in the air in still bad. And because of that, they can't go far in Europe. I also think they need to add another striker to the rota. But in as far as defenders are concerned, I think they need to look outside Italy if they can't find any. For example, a player like Ryan Shawcross of Stoke City, would give them the physical presence at the back. I don't think he would be so costly, yet he is young too. And Ranocchia?
on the 26th August, 2013 at 5:52pm
When will Allegri convert SES into a CAM? Obviously SES next to Balo isn't working and if Milan is so desperate for a CB and CAM they can save some cash and only sign a CB while converting one of their 15 strikers into a CAM...
on the 26th August, 2013 at 1:30pm
One game in and a lot of the Milan fans are already abandoning ship!
If last season proved anything it is that this Milan side can easily compete for the top four spots. Granted this isn't the super star filled Milan of yesteryear but there are future stars in this squad and will prove it yet again as the season goes on. Im also confident that Milan's defense will be improved on before the transfer window ends. As for Hellas Verona, welcome back to Serie A!
on the 26th August, 2013 at 12:37pm
So what about a word for Hellas eh?? An understandably nervous start after 11 years away from Serie A, a goal conceded early, followed by a regrouping that took the fight to Milan (rather effectively I might say). It takes 2 teams to make a match - so rather than moaning about what's wrong with Milan (after ONE match FFS!), give some credit to the Gialloblu for a tight, cohesive response, Luca Toni for showing that age is a state of mind, and Fiorentina for (incredibly) letting Romulo go!
on the 26th August, 2013 at 11:26am
And I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. If things go the way they went last season then I don't think he'll survive. I'm not sure who there is to replace him but with the current squad I can't see us winning very much this season.
on the 26th August, 2013 at 10:19am
There's probably not much point in talking about transfers. They are what they are. Allegri it seems specifically requested players in these positions which means he is happy with our defence. I think it's a bit harsh on Zapata who has not been that bad (obviously not the level of previous Milan defenders). Mexes actually had one of his best games for Milan on Saturday (considering he has set himself very low standards). He didn't get booked! Allegri's response was correct and....
on the 26th August, 2013 at 10:18am
The other big concern is the predictability of our attacking play. While the 4-3-3 formation seemed to be effective in getting us back in contention last season for me in nearly all the games it has been far too rigid. There's no inter-changing. The players just stand there in 3 very predictable lines. That's why SES is proving so ineffective when every time he gets the ball he is in the same position on the pitch and then does the exact same movement. To make matters worse the play is so slow.
on the 26th August, 2013 at 10:15am
We Milanistas have to suffer these downs as we had so many highs in the last couple of decades. I just hope Silvio makes some money available to the coach in the next few years because our team is getting embarrasing. Zapata and Mexes are a joke and our full backs are not much better either. Cant believe we didn't even bid for Ogbonna. Cant see us getting 3rd this season. I hope Juve and Napoli do well in the Champs League for the sake of Serie A because we will be humiliated.
on the 26th August, 2013 at 10:12am
Well that was not a good start to the season. In fairness Milan and in particular Allegri's Milan usually have a bad start to the season. We have lost many first games inluding under Ancelloti. There are some issues of concern. Set pieces have been Milan's achilles heel since long before Allegri. In fact if I had to point a finger it seems its been going on since as long as Tassoti was on the bench. Set pieces are about training and tactics. It's one of the few things a coach can plan for.
on the 26th August, 2013 at 10:06am
chuffed for Big Luca, 2 great headers and the trademark celebration...hope he keeps hellas up this year
on the 26th August, 2013 at 9:42am
As a Milan fan it has become painful to watch my team. Our squad and coaching staff are simply not good enough anymore. Many changes need to be made here at Milan. Allegri is not as good as he was. Galliani should sell the club to a rich owner who can actually buy players. The defence needs to be changed because it has a lack of quality excluding the full backs. Players which we don't use often who are not good anymore should be sold. Changes need to be made and they need to be made quick!
on the 26th August, 2013 at 9:32am
As much as i want to complain about milan i would also like to praise hellas for the win they deserved it, the work and effort they put in shamed milan over rated group of players. I would also like to add albertazzi to that list of impressive young players for hellas he shut down naing abate and co. As for milan same old complete lack of attention and resources on the midfield over the last 7 years. Even if milan can find they a player they can afford they don't have the guts to pursue them.
on the 26th August, 2013 at 7:40am
All u Milan idiots need to find another team to support if your after glory.

Milan are like arsenal, only worse. I've been saying for ages that the best teams start off fast. Milan always start slow.

Fast forward to the end of this season and the pathetic Milan fans will be saying "juve only won because Milan only started winning after the Christmas break. If Milan started winning straight away..."

It's always ifs and buts with Milan. Garbage team, come on PSV put the nail in the coffin
on the 26th August, 2013 at 2:37am
Let's hope they have enough pride in themselves to make up for the embarrassing effort on Saturday by winning the game on Wednesday and kick-starting the season.

On a side note... it is amazing to me how many fouls are committed on Balotelli each game, especially in Italy. It would appear to be a tactic both to stop him and to put him off his game. Allegri really needs to consider making some changes up front to reduce the physical wear and tear on Balotelli.
on the 25th August, 2013 at 8:48pm
just sack Allegri now #CountMax
on the 25th August, 2013 at 7:53pm
allegri must b replaced..he is not the manager milan need if thy wan to b a strong force again...allegri cant perform in europe...i luv carlo's milan...dida, nesta, maldini, kaladze, cafu, kaka, gatuso, pirlo, seedorf, inzagi, sheva..rui costa i tot benitez wl come to milan but this stupid napoli sign him...and one more ting...milan are always nt intrstd in serie a..but thy r more intrstd in europe...juve is noting compared to our european pedigree...7 european title...juve pathetic 2!!..
on the 25th August, 2013 at 7:36pm
Played 4-3-3 with clumsy defends...Allegri should be replaced..Formation need to be changed..De jong should be played and also Muntari..I hope they will loose another 4 games and sack the whole management...For the past 3 years we should already have the best defends and midfield but now it seems that we are totally zero..Hope there will be some changes soon..
on the 25th August, 2013 at 7:11pm
"Milan are better than Juventus" so said that stellar player Niang. We'll I guess we will have to stick with our inferior players who have won back-to-back Scudetto and 2 Super Cups. We have signed one of the best number 10's in the world and the leader of our orchestra is a master of his art, who Milan thought was finished as a player. Super Mario is the only Milan player who would get into the Juventus team and we would welcome him with open arms. Looking forward to October 6 Mr Niang?
on the 25th August, 2013 at 4:37pm
@st amberose

Urby only played because de de sciligo was out due to injury. Usually he doesn't get any starting games
on the 25th August, 2013 at 2:55pm
What's ironic is that near EVERYONE never hesitates to have a stab at Luca Toni, claiming he's no longer good enough to play for top sides. But he's good enough to destroy them it seems.
on the 25th August, 2013 at 2:46pm
Calm down people. First game of th season against a very hungry team. Clearly Milan should have won but these games happenes. Balotelli had a off game yesterday, while a few of the starters weren't playing such as de scigilio, boateng and de Jong. Stop using noccerino, he's simple not good enough. He had a stellar season 3 seasons ago that's all.

@mustfarta

You're the only person I know who critize ses. Prandelli praiaes him you talk down at him. Your one big laugh mustafa.
on the 25th August, 2013 at 2:01pm
It has become painful watching Milan , I don't think I can handle another season of our current game. We only carry the pride of our badge and history now all else is gone.
How i miss the game we used to play when we had seedorf,pirlo,kaka,nesta,gattuso and maldini....Bad management and market decisions have made sure we lost all the elements that made that brand of football our own. Allegri must be replaced immediately to at least stop this team getting worse !
on the 25th August, 2013 at 1:44pm
If they miss out on the CL, then it's the fault of the board.

The failure to land Honda and a proper centre-back is turning into a joke.

The few million they seem to be hesitating over for Honda will turn into a 30m loss if they fail to qualify this week against PSV.
on the 25th August, 2013 at 12:30pm
How can Milan score just a goal from a corner last season that shows our last of stregnth in the air.
on the 25th August, 2013 at 11:58am
Finally, something of a tangent, but: I don't understand why Milan have kept hold of Emmanuelson. I think he looked thoroughly unimpressive yesterday and in pre-season (he was an outright liability when he was tried out at left-back recently). He was on loan at Fulham and they decided not to keep him. What are we supposed to think of that? He's not good enough for Fulham, but he's good enough for Milan?
on the 25th August, 2013 at 11:54am
The courtship of Honda and Ljajic continues when they should be looking for better defenders. I was incensed when I read Astori might end up going to Napoli. Milan should be trying to snap him up in any way they possibly can. Any quality signing in defence would be a dramatic improvement for the team. Better that than overloading the midfield: Balotelli, Monty, Poli, Boateng (when he's playing well), Saponara and Christante ought to be enough creativity for one team.
on the 25th August, 2013 at 11:51am

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